For thousands of years, people have asked in astonishment, “How could a good God allow evil to take place?” The consequences of sin can come in the form of “natural evil” including natural disasters, disease, and death. The consequences of sin can also come from intentional evil painfully perpetrated one against another. We should recognize today that nothing we see, is as it should be. As much as the creation reveals our Creator, it also reveals our depravity. Even the earth itself is cursed because of man’s sin.

Just imagine for a moment a time with no evil, no death, no pain and no tears. Is it even possible to imagine? We are surrounded with extreme evil and the thought of perfection is hard to imagine. But, the Garden of Eden was that place; a perfect place with no evil, pain, tears or death. It is only in light of the sinless garden that we can get a taste of the eternal goodness promised to us by God when Jesus returns.

The promise of God is that He will recreate the earth in the future and once again there will be a time when there is no more evil, no death, no pain and no tears.  Yet the world to come will be infinitely better than even the garden!  In it, we will no longer have an opportunity to sin, Satan will be vanquished and we will have an understanding of the graceful redemption wrought on our behalf.  In that day, God will once again dwell among us as He did with Adam and Eve.  In the meantime, believers learn to “reverse the curse” by resisting the temptations of the evil one, by representing God in the fallen world, and by striving to restore broken relationships.

From the very first story of the very first family, sin wreaks havoc on humanity.  They lived in a perfect environment and sinned anyway.  Perhaps “the fall” sounds almost accidental, as though we trip and fall head over heels into sin.  As the story makes clear, Adam and Eve deliberately chose their path and the rest of us have followed in their footsteps.  But with the first sin came God’s first act of redemption.  With each successive story—Cain and Abel, and Noah’s family—we see God’s repeated faithfulness to redeem helpless and hopeless humanity.  God is always the pursuer.  Man’s default position is always to choose sin.  As the cycle continues we are reminded that God alone is our only hope.

As we get ready to start talking about creation this week, think about the plan that God set in motion to get us back. Can you see how this is the greatest love story ever told?

Even though we don’t live in a perfect place, what is the place you like to go that reveals God’s glory to you and helps you feel close to him?